WINNIPEG – A program is getting underway to ensure every newborn is screened for potential hearing programs.
Of the 16,000 births in Manitoba each year, between 17 and 102 are born with some sort of hearing loss, according to the province.
The new program will ensure those children get the treatment they need quickly, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday.
Diana Dinon with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says early detection means those with hearing problems will be able to catch up with their peers in school.
“Kids who are later identified, are falling behind in school, don’t do as well and need more supports. Let’s put the money into prevention and early intervention.”
There are 13 facilities in Manitoba, including the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital, that will offer screening services.
Dinon says earlier treatment is critical since the brain begins to map sounds immediately after birth.
“If its not heard anything up to that point, its really not responding to those. It’s going to take longer for you to develop speech and language if you are later identified.
Babies born at home or in smaller facilities will be referred to the nearest facility for screening.